Emojis At The Ranch Pen

About three years ago, our oldest son showed me how to turn on the emojis on my iPhone and it changed the way I communicate. I love emojis. They’re great. (Or, Fantastic 👌🏽 as the POTUS says.)

Like many writers, I write because it’s easier than talking. Left to my natural state, I can go days without opening my mouth to do more than mumble to myself. Imagine my delight to discover the emoji factory made it possible to communicate without the spoken or written word. 👍🏼👏🏼

I’m getting older and not very hip, so I fully identified with a funny post at the Babylon Bee (a Christian spoof news source), about a poor old pastor who responded to sad texts with the 😂 instead of the 😭 while comforting his parishioners.

One of the most enjoyable uses for emojis is conversing with the grandkids before they learn to read and talk and even afterwards. This is a portion of an emoji conversation I might have with the granddaughters:

💐👩🏼‍🌾👰🏼💃🏽👗👠👒👛🐱🐹🦋🦄

To which I might reply:

😊❤️

The grandsons communications go like this:

☠️🍕🍟🍔🏹🎣🥊🤺🏍🔪💣⚔️🚬🗡 and 🔫

To which I might reply: 😳😊

(They’re all homeschooled or they would probably be expelled from their classes by now. That’s one of the disadvantages of homeschooling–mom can’t expel her students for chewing their pizza into the shape of a gun, and so forth. She would if she could some days. Don’t ask me how I know.)

The emoji factory used to include a real looking handgun in the weapons selection. It was always included in grandson transmissions to me and it was also a favorite of mine. It conveyed the expression I often use after a trying day and there is one more ridiculous thing to deal with. “Just shoot me now!” I sometimes screech. With emojis the expression could be conveyed like this:

😖 🔫

Gramps or my sis would know exactly what was meant, but a while back, the politically correct emoji police took the real looking gun out of the weapons cache and I find it irritating 😠. (And really. A water gun? Just shoot me now with a water gun! loses something along the way.)

Do the emoji police not know ⚔️🗡💣🔪🚬🤛🏼👨🏼‍⚕️🐔(bird flu ) ⚡️🔥(arson) 🌪🌭🥃🚗(drunk driving) 🥃 (alcohol related disease) 🚙 (auto crashes) 📱(texting while driving) 🔨⛓💉💊 kill way more people than guns do? Where are the rubber swords, smoke bombs, candy cigarettes, hot wheels cars, cans of root beer? 🤷‍♀️

I’m just saying. Violence is a problem of the human heart and if somebody is determined to shoot another human being, only having access to the water gun emoji in texts isn’t going to change that.

As always, thanks for reading 📖. God bless all y’all and until next time ✌🏼 and enjoy The Isaacs doing The Three Bells a song popular back in the day when the Browns did it.

 

A Budding Young Novelist At The Ranch Pen

Einstein, the author

Einstein, the author

 

Today, I’m pleased to announce my collaboration with a budding young novelist on his first book, The Squirrel’s Happy Day. The novelist, our five-year-old grandson, Einstein, is a young man his gramps has likened to “a bagful of bobcats”, so his whacking out an illustrated book, the companion audiobook, and an interview with the author–all before lunchtime–was a breeze.

As most novelists have experienced, Einstein’s story started out about one thing–the evil horse named Vader–but changed in mid-stream to accommodate a different and better protagonist, Chippy the Squirrel. Einstein took this developement in his nimble-witted stride and just went with his gut. The result is fabulous and Einstein has left his options open for a series of tales about Chippy.

*Mistakes in the text are solely those of Einstein’s scribe, Danni.

Without further ado, I present The Squirrels’ Happy Day followed by an interview with the author.

Vader the Evil Horse

Vader the Evil Horse

Chippy and his father, Eye-Socket

Chippy and his father, Eye-Socket with their knives

Chippy's mother, Darlene, and the evil shark, Maul

The evil horse, Vader, plotting with Maul and the evil pig, Kyle Rent

The evil horse, Vader–with a slight anatomical peculiarity–plotting with Maul and the evil pig, Kyle Rent

Chippy's father, Eye-Socket, in his super powers lab

Chippy’s father, Eye-Socket, in his super powers lab

Chippy fights Maul the shark/bear

Chippy blasting away, Vader and Kyle Rent running away extremely fast

Chippy blasting away, Vader and Kyle Rent running away extremely fast

Victorious Chippy all grown up with a mustache

Victorious Chippy all grown up with a mustache. The End

 

Interview with the author, Einstein McGrifith.

Danni: Okay, we’re here today with Einstein who has written a fabulous book, The Squirrels’ Happy Day. How did you get the idea for this story, Einstein?

Einstein: Well…We had a pet squirrel before and one day, he came to our house and gathered nuts…a lot. One day, we moved to another house and we didn’t get to see him, so…

Danni: You always remembered that squirrel, didn’t you? Did it have a name?

Einstein: Fred

Danni: You changed his name to Chippy in the story, didn’t you?

Einstein: Yes

Danni: Well, that’s very cool. Do you have plans to write more stories about Chippy in the future?

Einstein: Yes

Danni: Do you have any idea what your second book in the Chippy series might be about?

Einstein: A book where Chippy is protecting his family from hunters.

Danni: So, it’s gonna be more geared towards human hunters rather than the evil types of animals that were in your first story?

Einstein: Yes.

Danni: Will Vader be in your second story?

Einstein: No.

Danni: Did Vader and Kyle Rent survive the battle, or did they crawl off to die?

Einstein: They came to a hill and used it as a camp. Hunters found them and hunted them down.

Danni: Oh, so, they actually aren’t a threat to the squirrels anymore?

Einstein: No.

Danni: It’s these hunters that turn on the squirrels, now?

Einstein: Yes.

Danni: Well, Einstein, it’s been a pleasure to visit with you today and I was really happy to collaborate with you on your book and write your words down. I thought your pictures were amazing…I really did. I think that I’ll keep them forever.

*****

Let me just mention here that Einstein’s interview was truly a pleasure. He was extremely professional and heart-breakingly sweet.

As always, thank you so much for reading. If you want to encourage Einstein in the comments, I will pass them along to him. Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy the Oak Ridge Boys singing Thank God For Kids.

 

Stuffed Animal Thighs At The Ranch Pen

Most of us ladies worry about stuffed animal thighs at one time or other, particularly in January, but imagine my surprise when one 70* mid-winter day last week I learned our five-year-old grandson is well on the way to a troubled future with the blasted things.

The niece TL’s sow, Petunia, has a new litter of piglets (below), so last week when the grandkids Blondie and Git’R’Done were hanging out with me I decided–as a treat–we would walk the mile down the road to check out the new babies.

Following, is a close approximation of how that all went down.

Danni: Hey, grandkids, let’s walk down to Aunt Sis’s and check out the baby pigs!

Blondie: (smiles) Yay!

Git’R’Done: (infused genetically with his gramps’ abhorrence of walking anywhere he could drive instead, clutches head and reels around like he’s been shot through the heart with bad news) Augh! Why do we have to walk? Can’t we drive?

Danni: No. It’ll be fun. It’s a beautiful day. You’ve been cooped up inside. You look like a mushroom. It’ll be good for you.

Blondie: C’mon, Git’R’Done, don’t be such a baby.

Git’R’Done: (Puts on the horse-riding helmet for unknown reason) Augh! Aww!  Why? Oh, man…

Git’R’Done in the riding helmet, playing with some furry friends

Danni: Your head’s gonna get hot in that helmet then you’re gonna want to take it off and I’m not carrying it for you.

Git’R’Done: (Still reeling) Augh! etc…

We set off in the beautiful sunshine, Blondie and I chatting about many pleasant things.

Git’R’Done: Aww! I’m tired. My legs hurt. My feet are tired. I’m hot. I’m hungry. Are we almost there? (he’s stumbling along with his helmet over his face, now, because his head is sweltering) Nana, can you carry my helmet?

Danni: No.

Blondie: (whirling upon her brother) Git’R’Done, do you wanna have stuffed animal thighs? Do you?

Git’R’Done: I wish I had a motorcycle to ride.

Blondie: (Rolls eyes) Don’t be such a wimp. I’ve got steel thighs. I walk up hills. I ride my bike up hills. Skate up hills. You drive me batty.

Git’R’Done:  (removes helmet from face and takes a swing at sister with it) You’re a sizzling sausage!

Blondie: At least, I don’t have stuffed animal thighs.

Git’R’Done:  Sizzling sausage! Sizzling sausage…

The whole story ends in anti-climax. The nieces, JA and TL, drove up and offered us a ride home. Git’R’Done quickly crammed his helmet back on and hopped in with them before we could remind him he was just making his thigh problem worse. We set off for home,  abandoning the piglet expedition without a blink. We were sizzled sausages. None of us got grit in our gizzards, or steel in our thighs. We did not see the new piglets.

(I did, however, laugh a lot.)

As always, thank you for reading. Until next time, God bless all y’all and while you enjoy Rend Collective tearin’ up  Joy of the Lord, hop and jump around. C’mon! Get rid of those stuffed animal thighs.

 

 

Bootcamp At The Ranch Pen

Boot_Camp_(2001)_logo

 

I’ve been covered up with work here at the Ranch Pen, so the blog has kinda been neglected. We had a lot of rain through May and June, which was greatly welcomed, but all that water shocked this droughty country into massive vegetation growth, and plagues of frogs (seriously), flies, rabbits, and creepy, crawling critters of every variety.

I’ve also been running periodic summer bootcamps Fun Weeks for the six grandkids who are old enough–Kevman, Blondie, Roper, Einstein, Git’R’Done, and Ladybug. (The youngest of the pack, Tater, is only a yearling and a mama’s boy to boot, so he is not even invited to Nana’s bootcamp, yet.) We start the week with excited plans. We abandon a healthy diet for one high in sugar and fat. We make art projects. We play in the pool. We have a little play on electronic devices. We make playhouses in the yard. We “train” the horses, take care of livestock, play with the dogs. We look at the stars and talk about God. We live dangerously, go places, do things. It’s all good.

At the beginning of Bootcamp Fun Week we have conversations like this:

Danni: Well, just try not to wet your pants again, okay?

Grandkid: Okay.

Toward the end of the week, the conversation has devolved to something like this:

Danni: What?! You wet your pants again. Why’d you do that?

Grandkid: I couldn’t make it back to the house in time.

Danni: Well, good lands. You’re out here on the farm, just go outside.

Grandkid has big eyes but doesn’t say anything, no doubt remembering mother’s commands not to drop his drawers outside like a barbarian.

Sorry ’bout that daughters-in-law.

No, we have a good time. I eavesdrop on them and laugh. Two of our grandsons are five-years-old. I don’t know if it’s their age, their sex, or their last name, but I overheard these two comments to no one in particular:

Grandson Git’R’Done energetically playing Fruit Ninja on an electronic device: I am really good at this!

Grandson Einstein playing Angry Birds on an electronic device: I keep doing so good at this!

They make up truly horrible jokes, too, such as this one I wrote down verbatim at the lunch table while they gobbled a made to order variety of junky food:

“Hey, what do you call soap with a coyote on it?”

Like so many stand up comedians, the young joke teller found his audience a hard sell, so he kept repeating the joke, trying to rouse a response. “Hey, what do you call soap with a coyote on it? Hey. Hey, guys. Hey, what’d’ya call soap with a coyote on it?”

My heart squeezed with pity lest his fragile ego suffer a blow, so I said, “What do you call soap with a coyote in it?”

“I wasn’t talking to you, Nana. Hey, Roper, what do you call soap with a coyote on it, huh?”

“Roper, listen to his joke,” I said, my ego stinging.

“Hey, Roper, what do you call soap with a coyote on it?”

Roper sighs heavily. “What?”

“A Doritos coyote soap!”

Duh! What else?

Ladybug–who is three–and I were the only ones who laughed, but that sparked more bad jokes, a run on the Doritos, and an overturned soda. We had to mop up the spill and stop joking around at the table, but I wouldn’t trade those kids in for anything on this side of the grave.

Until next time,  God bless, take time to delight in the kids in your life, and enjoy the Oak Ridge Boys doing Thank God For Kids.

 

Personality Of A Sunbeam, Bladder Of A Flea At The Ranch Pen

Gramps with the grandkids, Git’R’Done, Ladybug, Blondie, and Roper

A couple of weeks ago, along with my sister’s family, we gathered up as many grandkids as we could and headed down to the horse fair and ranch rodeo at Duncan, Oklahoma. Normally, I get a lot of really bad pictures, but this year I only managed to take a few really bad pictures. (Excluding the one above.) Why? you might ask. The correct answer would be that Ladybug–who has the personality of a sunbeam and is cute as can be at three-years-old–has the bladder and attention span of a flea.

Ladybug and I spent much of our time in the ladies’ room of the fair barn. The facilities there are pretty awesome apparently. The space is cavernous and echoes, sometimes with the barking from a stock dog on the end of some ranch lady’s leash. Perhaps twenty stalls of a dull, institution tan color are divided by a wide aisle where all us ranch lady types go in and out. Our boots scuff the concrete floor, which is covered in a film of grit from the arena. A really cool sink, like an old semi-circle horse trough, spouts water from only one of four spouts (I assume to conserve water because of western Oklahoma’s severe drought and water shortage). Also, there is an automatic paper towel dispenser. If you are three-years-old and stand directly beneath the towel dispenser jumping around and waving your hands, an astonishing amount of paper toweling will unfurl before your nana can drag you away. If you are not three-years-old, forget it. The blinking red eye will never detect your wrinkled old hands, no matter how vigorously you wave and mutter. Finally,  there was the big mirror above the trash can to make sure our hair looked good before Ladybug and I burst forth at a gallop, heading for the snack bar…to buy a drink, so we could return to the ladies room, etc, etc.

During my many treks to the facilities with Ladybug, I commanded Gramps to take pictures only to find he’s not any better than I am at that. However, he did take a video or two–one of which was upside down and the other in slow-mo. That one was hysterically funny, but we got it all fixed up for the Ranch Pen readers’ shock and awe.

The horse was not harmed in the making of this video, but seemed invigorated by his eight seconds of exercise. The rider, however, hit the fence hard enough to make Gramps lose control of the camera, so I had to cut off the end of the video. I believe the rider lived–at least until he staggered out of sight of the arena.

So, until next time, God help all y’all as you try to ride out your broncs–literal and figurative–and enjoy David Wesley doing his excellent job on Good Good Father.

A Pointless Tail–er–Tale At The Ranch Pen

kids' feet

The four oldest grandsons and the two granddaughters have been in and out at the home place quite a lot over the summer. The quality of the blog posts might’ve suffered, but we’ve had a lot of fun and some interesting conversations.

Here are a few snippets:

Grandson: Nana, I’m kinda like a toad, or a frog. I really wanna be a toad. No, a snake. Do snakes eat toads?

Danni: Yep.

Grandson: I’m a snake, then. Not a toad, or a frog.

***

Danni: Hey! Don’t sword fight Ladybug (youngest granddaughter).

Grandson: (with a look like hello?) Well, she’s got a ball bat.

***

Grandson: I’m gonna shoot a baby deer.

Granddaughter: (gasps) No, you’re not! That’s mean.

Grandson: Nuh, uh. They’re for somebody’s lunch.

***

Grandson: (striking pose, sword outstretched) I’m Feodore Roosebelt!

***

Grandson: Y’wanna know why I’m draggin’ my feet on the carpet, Gramps?

Gramps: Why?

Grandson: Cause I got pee on ’em.

***

Danni: Stop biting her! You’re not a real vampire bat!

***

Danni: Listen, pal. Don’t poke holes in my noodle.

***

Grandson: Hey, somebody scratch my back.

***

Then at the dinner table there was the dead silence from the grandkids that said more than words…after watching the bulls get semen tested.

But possibly one of my favorite conversations was the one below. *Red Alert: If you’re an animal rights activist–or a rat lover–I recommend you stop reading, now.

Six grandkids tumble into the house, sweating profusely and all talking at once.

Grandkids: Nana, there’s a sick rat in the barn. We’ve gotta help him or he’ll die!

Danni: (thinking, hallelujah, that rat poison is good stuff) Oh, I think y’all should leave that rat alone.

Granddaughter Blondie: But he’s really sick. We’ve got to nurse him back to health.

Danni: Um, no, honey. I’m sorry, but I won’t save a rat’s life.

Blondie: At least, can’t you put it out of its misery?

Danni: Just let it alone. It probably got in the rat bait. It’ll die in a little bit.

Blondie: (beginning to cry) That’s mean, Nana. We have to do something.

Danni: Honey, all I can do is hit it on the head and kill it.

Four grandsons: Yeah! Hit it on the head!

Grandsons rush back to the barn en masse. Granddaughters follow. Danni groans in her spirit and arms herself with pliers. Contrary to popular belief she doesn’t actually enjoy striking rats on the head. Except for the occasional two-legged rat. In the barn, the rat has crept beneath a pile of junk. Grandsons capture it. Danni picks up rat by the tail with her pliers. Stuffs it in a plastic cup. She has forgotten the hammer. Heads back to the house with grandsons leaping and shouting for blood like French Revolutionists mobbing the tumbrils of guillotine-bound aristocrats. Granddaughters trail behind in mourning. A thought strikes Danni like a sack of bricks on the head.

Danni: Hey, I know. I’ll throw the rat into the chickens and they can kill and eat it.

Blondie: Augh! No! Please. That’s cruel don’t do it!

Danni: You’d rather I hit it on the head?

Blondie: Yes.

Grandsons: Yeah! Hit it on the head! (They fetch the hammer.)

Danni groans in her spirit again, clears grandson heads out of the strike zone and dispatches the rat with a quick tap. A crowd of happy grandsons lead the funeral procession to the chicken pen. Grieving granddaughters follow.

Blondie: (crying) Nana, please put the rat where I can’t see the hens eat it.

Grandsons: We wanna see! Can we see…?

So, what is the point of that tale? I don’t think it has one except…if someone thinks there is no fundamental difference in boys and girls except their plumbing and environmental factors, I’d have to beg to differ. (And to anyone interested: The hens gobbled up the poisoned and head tapped rat with apparent enjoyment, suffering no ill effects afterward. It must truly be as my late father-in-law always said: “You cain’t poison a chicken.”)

God bless all y’all, have a great weekend as you go about your “rat killin'” as we say out in the country, and enjoy the young ladies of Red Roots singing Christian Country Girl. 

[youtube.com/watch?v=2mToUDBEsYs]

Celebrating A Brand New Baby At The Ranch Pen

IMG_5913

Kevman and Tater

I have been away from the Ranch Pen at Son #3’s house awaiting the arrival of grandson #5 who finally made his appearance. The new little man got a fine old Irish name meaning “man of prayer”, but we’ll call him Tater–as his other grandpa dubbed him–on the blog. He is as sweet as sugar pie and we love him to pieces. And we are ever so thankful to a loving God who knows us and forms us to His design in our mothers’ wombs.

As soon as life calms down a little we’ll delve into life in small town Oklahoma, an E coli outbreak, wild dog packs, and an important question from a grandson: “Can naked people jump on trampolines?”, but right now I’m real busy doing my Nana thing, so I’ll see y’all when I can.

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy David Wesley singing Wonderful Merciful Savior.

[youtube.com/watch?v=K6TdK2de79A]

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love his music